It’s still early in 2023, and yet the year has already brought some undeniably hit films to the fore. level – with Gerard Butler and Mike Colter (Mean) – has become a crowd puller due to its gripping action. But little do audiences know that Colter actually threw an actual sledgehammer at his co-star during the production of their latest film.
In level, Butler plays a pilot who is forced into an emergency landing. And when he finds himself and his passengers on an island occupied by anti-government armed militias, he reluctantly teams up with a prisoner (Colter) to help everyone survive. Of course, all sorts of chaos ensues in director Jean-François Richet’s hit action thriller.
For their roles, Butler and Colter performed much of their own stunt work. Of course, both actors have plenty of experience in physically demanding roles. Butler has starred in countless action films including 300, Law abiding citizen, Olympia has fallenand Den of Thieves. Meanwhile, Colter is best known for playing the titular Marvel hero in the Netflix series Luke cage.
At one point during filming, Colter and Butler found themselves in a potentially dangerous situation on set. Throughout the film, Colter’s character, Louis Gaspare, wields a sledgehammer. And the actor told Entertainment Tonight he tried to sell the scene with a fake sledgehammer. But struggling, he asked to work with a real one, a decision that could have resulted in an injury.
“There’s a moment where I hit someone in the head with a sledgehammer,” Colter told ET. “Sledgehammers are heavy. I try to make it look cool.” He continued, “I’m not trying to really hit the guy on the head. I try to swing it just inches from his head. … There is a real one and a fake one. The fake, it’s hard to make it look real, to sell it. So I tried a few times. And I said, ‘Let me try the real one.’”
Usually, level would be the kind of film that audiences would love and critics would despise. In this case, however, the film was warmly received on both fronts. level has a 75 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience rating of 94 percent.
“level shows a standard action-adventure course at a cruising altitude of just a few miles via direct-to-video — but with Gerard Butler in the cockpit, thriller enthusiasts will still find this a fun flight,” according to the film’s critics’ consensus . The film is also a box-office hit, according to Box Office Mojo, with a $12 million opening weekend on a reported budget of just $25 million.
level is in cinemas now.